I was in the Bull and Castle in Dublin last night and had the opportunity to try the latest offering from the Franciscan Well. Called Smiling Buddha, this is an amber ale. Amber ale for me means toffee, caramel, even some chocolate with a powerful hop aroma and flavour to balance out the sweet malts. Smiling Buddha certainly has the malt profile you would expect of an amber ale, however there are no flavours that jump out from the malt. Similarly and unfortunately, it is the same case with the hops, you know their there, but in a beer like this they really need to be in your face and this certainly is not the case with smiling buddha.
So overall I would say that I am disappointed with this, however I think that it is better than quite a few of the Irish Red Ales on the market at the moment. Definitely worth trying.